Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act Promises Relief

Navajo-Utah scenery

It took almost 18 years of negotiations to get there, but the end of 2020 brought passage of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act.  The Salt Lake Tribune reported that with Covid-19 ravaging the Navajo Nation where over 40% of Navajo homes in San Juan County have no running water, the House and Senate finally reached a bipartisan agreement to approve the Act.  The Act was approved as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260, December 27, 2020).

The Act provides $220 million in funding for water projects in San Juan County, leading Tribal, State and county officials to strategize on how to implement the projects.

Elements of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act

  • Current and Future Claims Are Settled.

    Settles all current and future claims by the Navajo Nation for water rights within Utah, thus precluding costly future litigation for all parties.


  • 02


    Navajo Nation Receives Apportionment.

    Provides the Navajo Nation with the right to deplete 81,500 acre-feet of water per year from Utah’s Colorado River Basin apportionment
  • Clean Water and Funding.

    Authorizes $210 million in funding for water infrastructure on Utah portion of Navajo Nation to access the water, which will help provide clean drinking water


  • 04


    State Contributions Approved.

    Requires the State of Utah to contribute $8 million in funding towards the settlement, which has been approved.

Source of Infographic:  Press release from Senator Mitt Romney.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

One thought on “Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act Promises Relief

  1. Woah, 40% of Navajo homes have no running water?!? 18 years of negotiations? This is unbelievable, but unfortunately believable at the same time. We should be hearing about this more prominently in the news. Does the average American realize over 2 million people have no running water? Water is something we take for granted as part of our everyday lives, and when Covid-19 hit, what were we told to do? Wash, wash, wash our hands. Yet we have Americans with no running water. I’m glad this act was able to pass.

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